“For the homeless, interaction with others is often limited to conversations with authorities or counsellors about their 'situation.' TMC allows people to relate to people, regardless of their situation.”

Meet our Artist-mentors

TMC artist-mentors are visual artists, musicians, and theatre artists who enjoy working in collaborative environments and share the rewards they find in art creation. Issues of social justice and the urban environment are integral to many of their artistic practices. This list includes both past and current TMC artist-mentors.

Bill Aitken
Amy Badry
Rick Borger
Ellen Close
Col Cseke
Cort Delano
Ryan Delve
Jennifer Elliot
Onalea Gilbertson
Linda Hawke
Tim Heavy Shields
Brian Kennedy
Eveline Kolijn
Chester Lees
Patricia Lortie
Kirk Miles
Eunice Poon
Hannah Poon
Hans Sahlen
Cat Schick
Lea Storry
Courtney Townsend
Sally Truss
Margot van Lindenberg

Ellen Close

Ellen Close is an actor, playwright, arts administrator and educator. She was a co-facilitator of The Eviction of Stuart Block, an original radio play presented by This Is My City at the High Performance Rodeo in January 2012 and a co-facilitator of The Magpie Treasure Talks, a series of expert talks on unexpected topics by Calgarians who've experienced homelessness.

Ellen Close, on the set of
Magpie Treasure Talks
with Col Cseke.
Photo by Laura Hussey

She is the Associate Artistic Producer of Downstage, a Calgary-based company that produces theatre that creates conversations around social issues (www.downstage.ca), and a member of the Downstage Creation Ensemble, with whom she has co-created and performed Bus(t), In The Wake and Good Fences. Ellen was nominated for the Enbridge Emerging Artist Award in 2010, and with the Downstage Creation Ensemble was the recipient of a Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play. She is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada.

Col Cseke

Col Cseke is a Calgary based theatre artist with a history of creating new works with marginalized community members in Calgary. With This Is My City Col has created The Eviction of Stuart Block, The Found Sound Orchestra, and Mapping This Is My City, as well as leading workshops in various Calgary shelters. In addition to his work with This Is My City Col has created The Magpie Treasure Talks, The Opposite of Dismal, and Oedipus Evolving  with Calgarians who have experienced homelessness.

Bob in The Opposite of Dismal
Photo by Wilmer Aburto

Col is the Co-Artistic Director of Verb Theatre, a company dedicated to sharing rarely told Calgarian stories. As a playwright his plays include Jim Forgetting, A Thousand and One Calgarian Nights, and The Ex-Pats. Col’s original works have been presented in Calgary’s largest theatre festivals, and with his collaborators in the Downstage Creation Ensemble he has three Betty Mitchel award nominations with one win for best new play.

Onalea Gilbertson
Photo by Christy Edwards

Onalea Gilbertson’s project Requiem For A Lost Girl: A Chamber Musical About Homelessness performed Off-Broadway as a special event of the 2012 New York Musical Theatre Festival. It originated in Calgary as Two-Bit Oper-Eh?-Shun, premiering at the 2010 High Performance Rodeo theatre festival. Onalea co-created the Drop-In Centre Singers, an inclusive singing group that originated with the support of TMC. Members from this group were a part of the world premiere of Two-Bit and also Requiem For A Lost Girl. Other projects involving those who have experienced homelessness include DI Wedding: The Musical (2011) and the TMC project The Eviction of the Stuart Block (2012).

Requiem for a Lost Girl
Performed Off-Broadway 2012
Photo by Paul Chirka

Onalea’s many performance credits include being a One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre ensemble member for seven seasons, acting with Alberta Theatre Projects, at the Citadel and Vertigo Theatres, and appearing as a vocal soloist with Land’s End Chamber Ensemble.

Onalea’s theatrical song cycle Blanche The Bittersweet Life Of A Wild Prairie Dame was “a top show of 2011” in the Huffington Post. It performed Off-Broadway (2011), in the Washington DC and New York International Fringe Festivals (2012) and is coming to Calgary for the 2013 High Performance Rodeo in co-production with Lunchbox theatre.    www.onalea.com

Linda Hawke

Linda Hawke is a visual artist who reclaims textiles and other materials from everyday life. Themes of family, place, and the symbiotic relationship between people and environments have engaged her practice for several years. Linda graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design with a combined degree in Fine Art and Art Education. She spent close to 20 years as a public programmer in museums and galleries. A founding TMC artist-mentor, Linda spearheaded the Sewing Home textile workshops at the Women’s Centre and the companion public program Sew City at the Glenbow Museum. She has also taught mending and mixed media workshops for immigrant and marginalized women and organized exhibitions of the resulting works.

Drains to Rivers and Streams
By Linda Hawke

During the 2012 This is My City Festival Linda collaborated with fellow artist-mentor Cat Schick to present Wrap, a series of ‘yarnbombs’ which saw second-hand afghans stitched to downtown benches, doorways and other meeting places to add a sense of warmth and draw attention to those in need of comfort.

Linda will return to the Women’s Centre with Cat Schick as a Calgary 2012 Artist in Residence. Their project will see the creation of blankets that embody participants’ perspectives on sleep and dreams.

Eveline Kolijn

Eveline Kolijn is a Calgary-based print media and multidisciplinary artist. She experienced an international childhood and received a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, The Netherlands. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art + Design with a BFA in print media in 2008 and is the recipient of the Governor General’s Academic medal. In 2009 she joined the This is My City project as an artist-mentor and project-led the City of Magpies program which recycled found and discarded items into sculptural works of art.

The Western Rider
By Eveline Kolijn

She has been actively involved with the organization ever since. She is the founding board member of the This is My City Art Society. She has organized and led visual arts workshops in Calgary’s homeless shelters, organized TMC exhibitions and events. She has exhibited nationally and internationally. She is currently an Extended Studies instructor at the Alberta College of Art + Design and a teacher for the Royal Conservatory’s Learning Through the Arts program.   www.evelinekolijn.com

Patricia Lortie

Patricia Lortie is a painter, sculptor and art instructor living in Calgary. She creates acrylic and oil paintings as well as sculptures in a variety of materials such as cement, glass and metal. She teaches art in the school system and at her studio where she runs a very successful after school program. Her work is an abstraction of our journey as she seeks to deepen her understanding of our fleeting lives in an eternal context. Sh expresses the energy relatives to life's events through colour, form and movement.

By Patricia Lortie

She sits on the board of directors of the Regroupement Artistique Francophone de l’Alberta and is involved in various art organizations on a punctual basis.

Kirk Miles

Kirk Miles’ poems have been produced on CBC's Alberta Anthology and his poetry has been published in journals across Canada. As a playwright he has earned recognition for his work including a playwriting award from Alberta Culture for co-writing the critically acclaimed Juggler on a Drum and in June of 2009 Kirk Miles won the Writers Guild of Alberta Screenwriters Award for a screenplay entitled Shadow Maker. A book of poetry: The Last Six Minutes of Elvis, was published by Touchwood Press in 2002, and in 2009 of ash of brick of water, was published by Plan-B House. In the fall of 2007 Bravo aired a half hour special on his life as a poet, playwright and clown.

His spoken word show with Ken Sinclair is called midnight yoga for alcoholics and has been seen at several festivals and events through-out Alberta. A frequent participant of the Banff Leighton Artist Colony, Hotel on the Cliffs of the Heart was completed in 2011 and is under consideration by several publishers. Presently he is working hard on a manuscript of poems about the holocaust called Moving Dust. Kirk was the MC for the Closing Events for This is My City 2012 Festival and worked on the City of Dreams project in 2013.

Cat Schick

Cat Schick has been an artist-mentor with TMC since its inception, leading or participating in projects such as artist trading cards, map-making, and found object assemblage. She is currently the chair of the programming committee and is excited about re-establishing consistent programming at the various agencies in the long term. Cat's personal art practice is focused on photography, installation, and street art.

San Francisco
By Cat Schick

Cat graduated from ACAD in 1987 in Photographic Arts. After living and exhibiting in Calgary for a few years, she moved to Zürich, Switzerland in 1990. While there she expanded her practice to include installation, assemblage, artists’ books, and artist trading cards. She had several exhibitions in Switzerland as well as Holland, the Czech Republic, and Canada. Cat returned to Calgary in 2006. Her most recent exhibition was in a group show at the Epcor Centre during the Exposure Photography Festival in February 2011.

Cat currently volunteers for The New Gallery as well as TMC. In the coming year she will co-lead a project with Linda Hawke for the Calgary 2012 initiative.

Lea Storry

Lea Storry is a corporate/personal legacy writer who collects and preserves corporate histories and family memories and publishes them either digitally or in book form. She's also taught various writing workshops around Calgary and loves hearing about everyone's life adventures.

Photo from In her words:
The making of a war bride

By Lea Storry

As former journalist she's written for the Calgary Herald, was the managing editor of the Vernon Daily Courier in B.C. as well as the editor of the Northern Journal in Fort Smith, NT. Lea has written several novels and is in the middle of working on a fifth.

Sally Truss

Sally Truss is a singer/songwriter/filmmaker with over 50 years of performance and writing experience to share. Her past appearances include guest spots on CBC TV, CBC Radio, CTV, and ACCESS TV. During the late 1960s and early 70s she was on the road across the United States and Canada, singing in coffee-houses and concerts – performing a mix of home-made and popular songs of the times. For a decade she was a regular performer at the Banff Springs Hotel, and also appeared at various folk festivals including the Calgary Folk Festival and North Country Fair. She has two CDs, both for young audiences called The Old Red Truck and ‘Tis a Gift.

As an arts administrator Sally is known for her work with Calgary Opera, Whyte Museum, Calgary International Children’s Festival, Sage Theatre and her involvement with Blue Quills First Nations College and others. Sally is Co-curator/producer of This is My City Festival with Linda Hawke.

Margot van Lindenberg

Margot van Lindenberg is a versatile visual artist with a BFA from the Alberta College of Art & Design. Influenced by living in diverse cultures she explores identity in her artwork and is inspired by spiritual metaphors in nature. She develops these ideas through textile techniques of screenprinting and hand-dyeing, and works with thread to create sculptural forms.

A client works on a Yarn Painting called Calgary - My Home at the
Drop-In Centre

Margot has developed art programs and workshops for schools, private organizations and institutions, and teaches Silkscreening on Fabric at the Extended Studies Faculty of the Alberta College of Art & Design. www.studiomargot.com and contextural.ca/wp/artists

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